Tag / Silkie bantam eggs

Chickens Stories from Our Nest

Box with a View

Cooler weather is upon us now and that terrible heatwave has, I imagine, drifted out over the Atlantic.  The girls are much happier.  I am too, their eggs have started to return.  This morning I let the girls out,  all of them flew the coop, including broody Feathers.  I have not discovered morning eggs in a long time, so you can imagine my surprise when I lifted up the nesting box and found this.

A beautiful little Silkie egg was laid in the nesting box on the right.  I was shocked.  I have grown accustomed to not expect any eggs from the Silkies.  Their tendency to go broody is really quite amazing.  It was a real treat to see this little gem sitting there upon the pine shavings.  Amazingly though, I cannot be sure who laid it.  It is smaller than the eggs that the Silkies typically lay.  Maybe it is small because the eggs laid immediately after a hen is broody are smaller.  Or could it be that Fifi has laid her first egg?  I cannot be sure.  This egg was most likely laid in the wee hours of the morning.
No sooner had I opened the nesting box, when Oyster Cracker and Sunshine arrived on the scene.  I quickly retrieved the egg, as Sunshine is extremely possessive of these found eggs!  They always love to poke their head out of the nesting boxes and see the world from different angles.  Here they are, content to stick their heads out of the nesting box, like a dog would hang out of a car window.

 

I wonder what they are thinking.  I wonder what they are “taking in”.  Perhaps the view is better from the nesting boxes.  I guess I will never know, but if this bit of indulgence that I allow them for 5 minutes or so keeps them laying their eggs, then I am happy to prop open the nesting box door for their viewing pleasure!  I do have to giggle with them, they make my heart smile.
Photo Credits: Tilly’s Nest

Chickens Stories from Our Nest

Silkie Eggs Return

Six of our girls should be laying eggs.   The  three Silkie girls were broody for so long, that I thought I would never savor one of their creations again. FINALLY, I can tell you that all six are once again making beautiful eggs.  The front three eggs in the picture are Silkie eggs.  Dolly’s egg is the white one in the middle.  Feather’s egg is on the right front and Autumn’s egg is in the front bottom left.  The two in the back are from Oyster Cracker and Sunshine.  Even though they are about half the size of regular eggs, Silkie eggs are very popular.

My children love the novelty of the miniature eggs and so do our friends who purchase our eggs.  Our friends even claim they taste sweeter than your traditional eggs.  I am glad to see that they don’t mind half-size eggs in the cartons that they receive.

My girls were broody during Easter and were not laying.  The kids were so upset that they never got to dye Silkie eggs this year.  Well, we might just have to do that this weekend.  Thank goodness for after Easter sales.  You never know when you might just feel like dying some eggs.

Chickens Eggs Stories from Our Nest

Candling the Eggs

A new life in the making

Yesterday, the kids and I candled the eggs for the first time. We did not entirely know what we were doing, but thought that all good farmers candle their eggs for viability, so we should probably do the same.

I went in to the garage and found a small hand held flashlight with an old fashioned bulb; none of this LED stuff. I cut a piece of cardboard into a 3″x3″ square. Then I cut into the middle of the square, a hole the size of a quarter. Next I took an empty toilet paper roll and cut it down to a 2″ tube. As the Silkie eggs are much smaller than standard eggs, I had to adjust the diameter of the toilet paper roll. I cut the tube down the side and curled it into itself until it was the diameter of a quarter. Once satisfied, I taped it into place. Finally, I taped the toilet paper tube onto the cardboard square. My contraption was built.

Quickly, I grabbed egg number one from underneath Dolly. I turned on the flashlight, placed my cardboard contraption on top, then placed the egg on top of the light. Then I saw it. The most spectacular sight of early life. A beautiful intricate spiderweb of veins spiraling outward from a dark center spot. As, I turned the egg, it all seemed to float in space, gliding along the egg’s shell. Magical.

Within a matter of 5 minutes, the kids and I candled eggs 1-6. We decided to wait a couple more days on eggs 7-9 as they are younger by a couple of days. My eight year old son was truly amazed by the experience. He asked a lot of questions about the experience and I answered them as best I could. The children are learning life’s lessons. Thanks to Dolly, patience and dedication are currently the curriculum of the month at Tilly’s Nest.

 

Here I am candling our eggs in the basement

Top Photo Credit: Chickens in the Road, Bottom Photo Credit: Tilly’s Nest

Chickens Stories from Our Nest

Chocolate’s Silver Lining

I called my friend who lives locally over in Cotuit.  She has a lovely farm with a menagerie of animals.  She is involved in so many wonderful organizations and she always goes above and beyond to assist animals in need.  Most recently, she has decided to raise Silkie Bantams.  The other day we were visiting and she showed my daughter her incubator and about 10 newly hatched Silkie chicks.

When I picked up the phone to call her, first day of school butterflies were fluttering about my stomach.  I had not felt this way in years!  As I waited for her to answer, my mind was bombarded.  How could I ask a friend to “take care” of my rooster?  I guess I felt badly not knowing entirely what went on between my daughter and Chocolate.  Did he give her just a warning peck that startled her or was it something more?  At some point in his future, Chocolate would most likely need to be culled if he continued on his aggressive path.  I surely could not do it; especially because I love him so. On the other hand, farmers consider their animals livestock and view their animals differently from pets.  I could not take another chance with Chocolate being aggressive toward the children.  The risks are too great.

I expressed all of my concerns.  With much patience and understanding she listened.  Then she said, “He can come live with me on the farm”.  I was so shocked.  I asked her if she was going to cull him and she said no.  “He is too beautiful, plus he is docile and gentle.  He was most likely doing his job, letting her know that those were his girls.”  My heart was overjoyed.  My eyes welled up with tears.  Chocolate’s life would continue on the farm with her Silkie Bantams.

She only asked one thing of me.  As Dolly is broody, she wanted me to let her try and have a set of chicks.  I agreed.  Yesterday, three silkies laid eggs.  Dolly had them all nestled under her breast.  I quickly removed them and penciled a number on each egg.  With each Silkie egg laid, I will place it underneath Dolly until the total reaches around 10.  Numbering the eggs will help me keep track of the eggs.  If all goes according to nature’s plan, we should have baby chicks in about 21 days.

Instead of losing the life of Chocolate, my beloved rooster, we will be creating new ones. At times like these, I am grateful for fellow chicken owners.  This journey’s rain cloud has a brilliant silver lining after all.

Chickens Eggs Stories from Our Nest

Silkie Eggs

 

Assorted Silkie Eggs

Silkie eggs are so wonderfully adorable.  Here are six resting upon a dessert plate.  Two of their eggs equal one regular size eggs.  Thinking ahead to Easter, they are going to make the sweetest colored Easter eggs.   Silkie hens are wonderful additions to your flock, even though they may not lay the largest eggs, they make-up for it with their sweet docile personalities; perfect for families with children.

Caramel colored egg from Tilly

This week our seven girls laid about 3 dozen eggs.  They have been busy.  Even thought Tilly is a larger standard breed, her eggs are not very large.  I would say that they are somewhere between a Silkie and a standard breed eggs.  However, once in a while, she delights us with unique shades of brown.  This one laid yesterday is a rich deep caramel color. It is almost too pretty to eat.

Oh, by the way,  Dolly does not appear to have continued with her broodiness.   Maybe she was just having a Calgon moment!